© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons

454 RAAF Squadron :  15.10.42 - 10.3.43


Flying Officer Allan Llewelyn DAVIES MID

RAAF Pilot No. 402733

Born: 3.9.1918 - Liverpool, UK

Date of Enlistment - 14.1040

Date of Discharge - 22.10.45

Rank: Flying Officer

Posting on Discharge: 87 Squadron

Post War : Clerk of Port Kembla NSW

Died : November 2006 - advised by his wife Fay Davies

From "Alamein to the Alps" by Mark Lax

454 Squadron in October 1942 – 20 new recruits were to join the Squadron at Lydda in Palestine. The Squadron began to grow with a scale of one Fitter IIe (engines) per engine to maintain and one Fitter IIa (airframes) per aircraft. However, the aircraft as yet were still non-existent.  In late October, a rumour quickly spread that the Unit’s aircraft were actually on the way. Sure enough, on 1 November two crews proceeded to 56 Repair and Salvage Unit to collect their first ‘kites’. Over the next few days other crews departed for aircraft collection. Their new steeds would be the Bristol Blenheim, a light bomber designed in 1934 that had been hopelessly outclassed over European skies, but was deemed suitable for the farther outreaches of the war. Likewise, new arrivals included more aircrew including Sergeants Allan Davies, Paul Bayly and Geoff Harnett and their respective crews who arrived from 52 Squadron, then stationed at Mosul nearby.

Allan recalled:

"The nucleus of 454 Squadron was 52 Squadron reformed in the

Middle East, with the ground crews from England and the aircrews

off course from 70 OTU at Nakuru, Kenya, and [was] about 90%

Australian. Our aircraft were old and I think came from other

Blenheim squadrons. The squadron was formed in September

1942 and we took the aircraft over at Wadi-Sharia and flew them

to Gaza satellite, thence to Habbaniya and finally to Mosul on the

Turkish border."

These crews were to become known as the Squadron ‘early birds’.

The Blenheim Mk V or Bisley also appeared about this time. Essentially a modified Blenheim IV under the Bristol Company classification of Type 160, this model had a new nose section (with improved armament), larger engines and about 600 lbs of armour plate around the cockpit. This made them heavy and sluggish and pilots found them tiring to fly. Consequently, in the hot weather, nobody liked them. They also had other annoying features. According

to Sergeant Allan Davies :

"You could always tell a Blenheim pilot. The undercarriage handle was worked by the right hand. It was so designed that no matter how you tried, when working the handle, you always ripped the skin off your knuckles. Each of us had no skin on our right hand knuckles!"

The Blenheim